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ISRCTN registration: 10671514

‘Frailty’ is a condition that we know can affect people as they get older and means people can be weaker and more vulnerable than they used to be.

Things that suggest a person may be frail include:

  • Difficulty getting about – slow walking, using a stick or frame
  • Recent or recurrent falls
  • Being confused
  • Needing help to do everyday tasks

This study, funded by the Burdett Trust for Nursing, aims to determine if it is possible to accurately assess frailty in the Emergency Department (ED) in patients aged 65 or more admitted with major trauma. We are doing this because we do not currently know how common frailty is in the UK major trauma population or whether it is feasible to carry out early frailty assessment in the ED in this patient group. This early identification could lead to improved pathways of care that positively impact on health and longer term recovery.

We also hope to find out if there is a particular measurement tool for frailty in major trauma that more accurately identifies if a patient is frail in the ED. Lastly, we would like to find out about what happens to older patients who are admitted to hospital as a result of trauma, and to see how their recovery is progressing 6 months after discharge.

Phase 1 of this study is now closed to recruitment. A summary of the results will be available on this page and through journal publications. 

Phase 2 completed data collection in February 2021.

Phase 3 is in development and set-up

Associated outputs

Jarman H, Crouch R, Baxter M, Wang C, Peck G, Sivapathasuntharam D, Jennings C, Cole E. Feasibility and accuracy of ED frailty identification in older trauma patients: a prospective multi-centre study. Scandinavian Journal of Trauma, Resuscitation and Emergency Medicine. 2021. doi.org/10.1186/s13049-021-00868-4

Hear the ‘Papers of the Month’ review of our SJTREM paper by @TheResusRoom podcast here

Jarman H, Crouch R, Baxter M, Cole E, Dillane B, Wang C. Frailty in major trauma study (FRAIL-T): a study protocol to determine the feasibility of nurse-led frailty assessment in elderly trauma and the impact on outcome in patients with major trauma BMJ Open 2020;10:e038082. doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2020-038082

Configurations and outcomes of acute hospital care for frail major trauma patients: a
systematic mixed studies review. Halter M, Moss P, Jarman, H, Baramova D, Cole E, Crouch R, Baxter M, Kulnik ST, Gavalova L. PROSPERO 2019: CRD42019139107

Study team

Professor Heather Jarman (St George’s University Hospitals)


Professor Robert Crouch (University Hospitals Southampton)

Dr Mark Baxter (University Hospitals Southampton)

Dr Elaine Cole (London Trauma System)

Dr Chao Wang (Kingston University and St George’s, University of London)